Frequently Asked Questions

Workplace Issues

I have a problem with my employer. Who do I call?

If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed, contact the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission at 853-5480

If you have issues with wages, compensation, overtime, child worker laws, etc. call the New York State Department of Labor at 516-794-8195.

I would like to file for Unemployment Insurance. Who do I call?

If you have been laid off from your job, contact the New York State Department of Labor at 1-888-209-8124 or www.labor.state.ny.us.

What is the minimum wage in New York?

The minimum wage in Suffolk County is $10 per hour and will increase $1 per hour each year on 12/31 until it reaches $15 per hour. 

Consumer Issues

If a vendor has a current license, do they also have insurance?

Though a vendor must show Proof of Insurance to receive a license, if the insurance is subsequently cancelled, there may be a lapse in the time it takes for the insurance company to notify our office. If you have any concerns regarding insurance, we recommend that you ask the vendor for a copy of their insurance certificate.

When I enter the license number in the online contractor search screen, nothing comes up. Does this mean the company is not licensed?

Not necessarily. When using our online contractor search screen, please enter the numbers only. An example would be license #12345-H. This license would be entered as 12345. Do not enter the dash (-) nor the H. Doing so would void the search and a return message of “license not found”.

The vendor wants all the money upfront, is this legal?

Although it is not “illegal” for a vendor to ask for “all” money up front, it does create a “red flag”. Common practice is to ask for the payment in stages. We suggest a 1/3 up front, followed by 1/3 halfway through, and then 1/3 upon completion. Make sure the vendor puts a breakdown of the cost of both labor and materials in the contract so that there is no dispute as to what each costs. Both parties should sign the contract. If there are any changes after the initial contract, make sure the changes are in writing and any modifications are signed and agreed to by both parties.

Do I have three (3) days to cancel any contract.

The “three day right of rescission” applies to Home Improvement contracts, door to door sales and contracts signed other than the normal place of business. Do not assume you have three days to cancel a contract. When in doubt, you can contact our office for further assistance.

Home Improvement License Issues

Must I attach a photo to my Home Improvement License Application?

Yes

Do I need insurance when I submit my Home Improvement License Application?

Yes

How do I get a business name?

Incorporation is done through New York State. A business certificate is issued through the County Clerk’s Office. You can reach the county clerk at 852-2000.

What is the procedure to get a license?

Complete the application and return it to us along with all required documentation. Once it has been processed you will receive a letter with the test date and/or any items still required in order for you to obtain your license.

What do I study and what is on the test?

The test is based on the Home Improvement Law (Chapter 563, Articles I & II) as well as article 36-a of the NYS General Business Law. A copy of the law will be mailed with your application. If you are downloading the application, be certain to also download the law. The test is twenty five questions, True & False, as well as multiple choice.

How long will it take to get my license?

Approximately 3 weeks.

If I’ve held a Home Improvement License previously, will I need to take the test again?

No, not unless your license was issued prior to 1/16/1987, the date we started testing.

Do I need a NYS address?

Yes. Refer to 563-17. Every licensee shall maintain an establishment within the State of New York.

How often do you test?

The test is given twice a month

Will my application be denied if I answer “yes” on any of the background questions?

Not necessarily. Please submit a detailed explanation.

If I have no partners must I list all corporate officers?

Yes. All four offices must be filled (President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer). You may hold all four positions.

Do I need Worker’s Comp if I have no employees?

No

Regulation

Does Suffolk County regulate pet stores and pet dealers?

Yes.  The law governing pet stores and pet dealers basically states that no animal shall be offered for sale, trade or give-away by a pet dealer or pet store unless the animal is at least 8 weeks old, is in good health and has been weaned from its mother.

Any animal offered for sale, trade or give-away by a pet dealer or pet store shall have daily access to appropriate amounts of clean, fresh water and clean, fresh food no less than twice per day.

How do I know if a pet store or dealer is reputable?

Any pet dealer or pet store offering animals for sale, trade or give-away shall, upon request of the prospective consumer, make available a copy of the most recent inspection reports conducted by the USDA and the animal’s state of origin of the breeder and/or broker from which the subject animal came, and must prominently post at their place of business the statement “USDA inspection reports are available upon request”.

Do I have to pay to get my new pet neutered?

Yes. Any pet dealer or pet store offering animals for sale, trade or give-away shall make sterilization services available to the consumer for animals sold at an age at which such procedures may be performed safely.  Consumers shall be responsible for any costs associated with utilizing such services.

 

 

Does Suffolk County regulate swimming pool contractors?

Yes.  Swimming pool contractors must be licensed. 

Can my home improvement contractor fix my pool?

Yes, though special certification is still required.  Applicants seeking to renew a license to engage in home improvement contracting and who engage in the building, installation or servicing of swimming pools, permanent spas and/or portable spas must provide documentation of a minimum of six (6) hours of continuing education in their industry since their last license application or renewal.

Any applicant seeking a license to engage in, or applying for a renewal of a license to engage in, home improvement contracting, and who builds and installs swimming pools and permanent spas over 24 inches in depth, and any applicant who services the plumbing, heating and/or the electrical elements of swimming pools, permanent spas and/or portable spas, must provide proof of the APSP Certified Building Professional certification or other pool building certification approved by the commissioner and demonstrate a minimum of two (2) years of experience in the building and installation of pools.

Does my pool maintenance company also need a license or certification?

Any person who operates a pool or spa service repair or maintenance business in the County of Suffolk, which includes the construction, installation, and/or servicing of swimming pools and portable and permanent spas, must be licensed with the Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs and have received an Association of Pool and Spa Professionals’(APSP) Certified Maintenance Specialist Certification or other approved equivalent certification.

 

 

Does Suffolk County license taxi cabs?

To ensure consumer safety and provide regulatory oversight of taxicabs, limos and livery vehicles, Suffolk County requires taxi cab and limousine businesses to be licensed.

Suffolk County has set its own standards and practices with regard to the registration of taxicabs, limousines and livery vehicles and providing local Suffolk taxi companies with the opportunity to do pre-arranged trips to New York City. 

Licensed companies must carry appropriate insurance, use only inspected vehicles that are in good repair, screens operators for driver competency and perform criminal background checks as a condition of licensing.

Violations Hearing Adjournments

All request for Violations Hearing Adjournments must be scheduled a minimum of 48 hours in advance in writing.